from the Judgment of Sentence May 25, 2017 In the Court of
Common Pleas of Delaware County Criminal Division at No(s):
BEFORE: PANELLA, J., MURRAY, J., and STEVENS [*], P.J.E.
Gooseby-Byrd (Appellant) appeals from the judgment of
sentence imposed after the trial court convicted her of
driving under the influence (DUI) of alcohol, 75 Pa.C.S.A.
§ 3802(a)(2). We affirm.
trial court recounted the facts as follows:
On August 19, 2016 at about 1:38 a.m., Officer Jonathan
McGowan of the Lansdowne Borough Police Department was called
to 73 East Greenwood Avenue to investigate a disturbance in
the area. N.T., 5/25/17, p. 5, 25. He arrived at the location
about two minutes after [the] initial call. Id. at
26. Upon his arrival he saw a silver sedan parked and
occupied by three women who were arguing loudly. [Appellant]
was in the driver's seat and two passengers were in the
rear of the vehicle. Id. at 7-8, 26. Officer McGowan
approached [Appellant] and told her that he was called to the
area due to a complaint about noise and asked her to produce
her driver's license, registration and proof of
insurance. She provided her driver's license and a rental
agreement for the vehicle bearing her name. Id. at
9, 31. Officer McGowan testified credibly that the vehicle
was running with the keys in the ignition. Id. at
97. As he approached he saw that the vehicle's windshield
was severely cracked. He asked about the damage and
[Appellant] told him that a pedestrian jumped on the vehicle
earlier when the group was leaving a club in West
Philadelphia. Id. at 10, 27. [Appellant] told him
that she did not drink alcohol at the club but that her
sisters had. Id. at 9-10. She stated that they were
in the neighborhood looking for a relative's house.
During this interaction the officer detected the strong odor
of alcohol coming from the passenger compartment. He also
observed that [Appellant's] eyes were glassy and
bloodshot and her speech was slurred. Her passengers
exhibited the same features. Id. at 11.
Officer McGowan asked [Appellant] to exit the vehicle. She
was unsteady on her feet, had a staggered gait as she walked
to the back of her vehicle, [and was] using the vehicle for
support. Three field sobriety tests followed and [Appellant]
failed each of the tests. She participated in a preliminary
breath test. The officer concluded that [Appellant] was
incapable of safe driving and placed her under arrest.
Id. at 11-16. Thereafter he read her an Implied
Consent form which she signed, agreeing to blood testing. A
blood test measured her BAC at .088%. Id. at 19-20.
Throughout this entire episode, at no time did either
[Appellant] or her sisters say that [Appellant] was not the
driver of the vehicle. Id. at 32.
[At trial, Appellant] testified in her own defense and also
offered the testimony of her sister, Linese, who was in the
vehicle. Both women admitted that during the course of their
interaction with McGowan, before and after the arrest, no one
ever said that Linese was the driver of vehicle, not
[Appellant]. Id. at 50, 87-90.
Trial Court Opinion, 9/20/17, at 4-6.
was charged with DUI and a bench trial commenced on May 25,
2017. The same day, the trial court rendered its guilty
verdict and sentenced Appellant to six months of probation
plus costs and community service. N.T., 5/25/17, at 103-104.
Appellant filed a motion for post-trial relief assailing the
sufficiency of the evidence, as well as a motion for
reconsideration of sentence. After a hearing on July 18,
2017, the trial court denied the motions. Appellant filed
this timely appeal.
presents a single issue for our review:
WHETHER THE EVIDENCE WAS INSUFFICIENT TO CONVICT [APPELLANT]
OF DUI BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT WHERE THE TRIAL TESTIMONY
PRECLUDED ANY LAWFUL INFERENCE THAT SHE WAS OPERATING, OR IN
CONTROL OF THE VEHICLE IN QUESTION WHEN THE POLICE ARRIVED ON
Appellant's Brief at 7.
reviewing a sufficiency claim, our Supreme ...